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Burst tomatoes with fresh herbs {vegan, gluten-free}

Burst tomatoes with fresh herbs: so easy and so versatile!

K-I-S-S. Keep it simple, stupid. Have you heard that before? It's a design principle, originally created by the US Navy, that emphasizes simple solutions over the more complex. In cooking, keeping it simple means letting ingredients speak for themselves. A recipe with 25 ingredients isn't necessarily better than one with three ingredients, if those three work together and enhance each other. I could have called this recipe KISS tomatoes. I could have added more ingredients (garlic, cheese, dried oregano, onion, bell peppers, etc. etc. etc.), but really, all that needed to be there were the tomatoes and a few fresh herbs. We enjoyed these burst tomatoes as a dip for some toasted bread and, later in the day, as a sauce for penne pasta with just a sprinkling of parmesan cheese. If we'd had any left (None. Demolished.), bruschetta would have been on the menu, too. For the tomatoes, I used a box from the grocery store; they're out of season here in New England, but for this dish, they were just fine, as were the fresh herbs I bought at the market. In the summer, garden-fresh tomatoes and herbs will make this recipe sing.

Cherry tomatoes

A bowl of burst tomatoes, for dipping or to use as a bright, fresh sauce for pasta.

Burst tomatoes with fresh herbs

From the pantry, you'll need: extra virgin olive oil, mild red pepper flakes, mixed herbs, kosher salt, fresh black pepper.

Makes 2 cups of tomato "sauce", to be used as a dip, sandwich topping, or pasta sauce. Can be multiplied.


2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
3 cups whole fresh cherry tomatoes, any color or a mix of colors and shapes
Pinch of mild red pepper flakes
1/4 cup mixed chopped fresh herbs: scallions, flat-leaf parsley, mint, basil (use any herbs you like)
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste


In a large frying pan, heat the oil over low-medium heat.

Add all of the tomatoes. Cover the pan with a splatter shield, or cover yourself with an apron.

Cook, shaking the pan from time to time, for 10-12 minutes, until the tomatoes soften and begin to burst. Do not smoosh them with a spoon, or cut them, or cajole them in any way. The bursting will happen, and some tomato juices will ooze out into the pan and combine with the olive oil.

After a handful of the tomatoes have burst open, and others look like they want to join in, toss in the red pepper flakes and fresh herbs. Stir gently or shake the pan for a minute or two.

Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and remove the pan from heat. Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl, and enjoy it as a dip with toasted bread, a sandwich filling, or a sauce for pasta, or cool completely and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More ideas for using burst tomatoes:
Tomato and goat cheese bruschetta, from The Perfect Pantry
No-cook summer antipasto, from The Perfect Pantry
Pasta with tuna and tomato sauce, from Simply Recipes
Pasta salad with slow-roasted tomatoes, grilled zucchini, and basil, from Kalyn's Kitchen

Burst tomatoes with fresh herbs: you can make them at any time of year!

Need more creative ideas for using tomatoes all year round? Get 25 Tomatoes, my e-book packed with fantastic recipes, full-color photos and a fun video tutorial. With the FREE Kindle Reading app, delicious tomato recipes will always be just one click away on any computer, tablet or smart phone. Click here to learn more.

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


This is a keeper. Yesterday I over-planted tomatoes as usual (20 plants) and can't wait for the harvest.

Mary, I'll be happy to help you eat some of that harvest!

This sounds wonderfully versatile; I can imagine endless ways to use these delicious tomatoes.

Kalyn, our biggest problem was keeping them around! We snacked, we tossed some with pasta, and then I had to make more.

I love this recipe. Thanks so much and have a great Sunday!

Spectacular! My first cherry tomato has appeared on a plant...promises of things to come (soon)!

Liz, thanks.

Candy, how great that you are growing tomatoes in your garden! I miss my garden for tomatoes and fresh herbs.

The recipe sounds 'genius,' and your description is lyrical. We're a long way from local tomatoes, but I'll see what the supermarket can provide.

Susan, save this recipe for August, when our local tomatoes start coming in! Or make it now with supermarket tomatoes, if you're like me and just can't wait any longer.

Wow, that dish really looks awesome. I love tomatoes in all varieties. So, I definitely have to try to copy your recipe. Thanks a lot for sharing it with us!

Wow, even with supermarket tomatoes, this is a winner. I had a little just-made with dinner, then my husband ate everything left with his breakfast. Summer should be great!

Susan, I'm so glad you tried these tomatoes. By this time of year, I'm so impatient for garden tomatoes that I had to find a way to make those supermarket tomatoes taste amazing. I think this is it!

love "burst 'maters", only i "burst" mine in the toaster oven lol...they are so versatile, yes, as a dip, a spread, over pasta, it's been my go-to appy when i needed something that was quick but delish...and yeah....there have been times when burst/roasted 'maters and a crusty loaf of bread was dinner LOL

Threefeathers, great idea to use the toaster oven!

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